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Volunteers spread gravel on the campus of Salem Animal Rescue League as part of Saturday's Comcast Cares Day. (APRIL GUILMET PHOTO)

Sprucing up

Comcast volunteers spruce up Salem Animal Rescue League

SALEM — A local animal shelter was among the 20 or so Granite State non-profit organizations to benefit from Comcast Cares Day last weekend.

On Saturday morning, about 100 volunteers, all employees of the Comcast corporation, descended on the campus of Salem Animal Rescue League (SARL) for a full day of projects despite the rainy forecast.

D.J. Bettencourt, SARL's development and community relations director, said the volunteers' good works actually began quite a bit earlier than the scheduled day of service.

Several weeks earlier, volunteers stopped by the shelter to assess its greatest need.

"They did a total walk-through and left with a pretty long list," Bettencourt said. "Right away they told us they wanted to do something beyond general maintenance — they wanted to take on a more major project."

By early afternoon on Saturday, volunteers stood under tarps as the rain poured down, putting a fresh coat of paint on the building used for housing dogs.

Bettencourt said the volunteers had completely stripped the structure of its old, faded paint earlier that morning.

The group also installed a new sign, replaced a set of cat kennels, planted flowers and shrubs around the site, repainted the lines in the parking lot and repaired some fencing and animal pens that has been damaged by last winter's snowdrifts.

About 50 SARL staff members and supporters worked with the Comcast volunteers, with many stopping by to help on their day off.

"We take a great deal of pride in our facility, but SARL wouldn't be able to do it all without the support of organizations like Comcast," Bettencourt said.

Statewide, more than 1,500 of the state's Comcast employees participated in Comcast Cares Day, according to company spokesman Marc Goodman.

This is the company's 13th season offering the program, though it was SARL's first time benefitting from services offered.

Among the other sites visited by Comcast volunteers last weekend were Camp Foster in Bedford; Girls, Inc. in Manchester; Nashua Boys & Girls Club; Suncook Little League in Pembroke; the Meadow Park Complex in Newport; Zion's Camp in Raymond; and the Nashua Humane Society.

To date, more than half a million volunteers around the world have contributed over 3 million volunteer hours since Comcast Cares Day started in 2001.

"We're proud once again to partner with Boys & Girls Clubs and other nonprofit organizations to improve our community during our 13th Comcast Cares Day," said Steve Hackley, Comcast Senior Vice President of the Greater Boston Region, which includes New Hampshire. "The hard work of the 1,500 New Hampshire volunteers who donated their time to help make such a big difference in the lives of others is inspiring."

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